Guide to JP: What Makes JP Unique

September 14, 2012
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JP boasts a diverse population of about 38,000, according to the 2010 census: 54 percent white; 25 percent Hispanic/Latino; 13 percent African-American; and 4 percent Asian. JP has a large gay and lesbian population and is home to several prominent GLBT rights activists.

Once called “The Eden of America” by a visitor, according to an 1800s chronicle, Jamaica Plain is nearly surrounded on the west, south and east sides by green space: Arnold Arboretum, Forest Hills Cemetery, Franklin Park, Jamaica Pond Park and Olmsted Park.

While boasting a wide array of businesses, JP is especially known across the city for its variety of prominent restaurants. Bella Luna on Amory Street, El Oriental de Cuba in Hyde Square, Star Fish Market in Egleston Square and Ten Tables in central JP are just a few of the longtime landmark dining spots.

JP has a rich arts and cultural scene that includes such major annual festivals as Wake Up the Earth, the Forest Hills Cemetery Lantern Festival, the Jamaica Plain Music Festival and the Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade. South Street and Monument Square are home to several galleries, including The Hallway and UFORGE.

JP has housing stock as diverse as the population, with three-deckers, ranch houses, Victorians, colonials, Capes, condos and more.

JP has a rich history and several historic landmarks, with many from colonial times clustered around the Civil War Solider’s Monument where South and Centre streets intersect.

JP is home to Boston’s Latin Quarter, centered in Hyde/Jackson Square.

JP is the base for a phenomenal number of nonprofit organizations—more than 250.

JP has been the subject of several books, including: “A Home in the Heart of a City” by JP resident Kathleen Hirsch; “Local Attachments” by Alexander von Hoffman; and “Images of America: Jamaica Plain” and “Jamaica Plain: Then & Now” by Anthony Mitchell Sammarco.

The phone numbers of many longtime JP businesses and residents—including the Gazette—begin with “522” or “524.” The “52” is the same as the numerals “JA” on the telephone dial, which is short for “Jamaica.” In the early days of telephones, cities and neighborhoods had phone numbers that began with an abbreviation of the place name. Decades ago, people calling here would tell an operator, for example: “Jamaica 4-2626.”